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Friday, May 19, 2006

Riding the waves of the Blue Ocean - Part 1


Blue Ocean Strategy - How to Create Uncontested Market Space and to Make the Competition Irrelevant

Nintendo's Strategy - it all seems to be paying off. What with countless good news about the Wii, more and more developers are sailing out of the Red murky waters and grabbing a board to ride the blue waves.

Historically speaking, the least powered, cheapest to sell, cheapest to develop for console tends to out sell those others in the market. Having a wide user base, specifically one that is uncontested by the two other major parties at the moment, is nothing short of a blessing to Nintendo. The Blue Ocean has proven to be successful with the DS, even against the PSP , which was thought to topple the DS - expanding the market, gaining new users, and bringing back old gamers who have become tired of today's games.

But is it true? Has gaming really become such a chore that people can no longer finish the tasks associated with gaming? To that, probable is the only affirmative answer. As games have become more complex and more involved, so have peoples expectations of games. A 15-hour RPG by today's standards is considered by many to be a Rip off. Amazingly, if you are to stretch that same game out, by doubling the amount of battling, moving the story along at a slower pace, and decreasing the text speed, the same game can come out to 40-50 hours. Still, this does not necessarily leave the game in a good position; fragmented storylines, drug out gameplay filled with repetitiveness. Are these the hallmarks of good games?

Nintendo has gone about to bring back that time of legend, but to do it, and to experience it, you must travel on the waves of the Blue Ocean. You must bring back games that everyone can play, not just the 'modernized' games. Gamers did not all migrate to today's 'hardcore', they dropped out. They stopped believing in the gaming world. Today's 'hardcore' does have its share of relic gamers from the past, but many more are new gamers, caught in the luster of the modernized games.

Modernized games; an interesting term. Every game of its time will be modernized, so how can one define today's games in general? Today's games are primarily based off of sequels, blockbuster and standardized genres. A sequel plays like the first, as does a game based on a standardized genre. Your controls are the same, the game is the same.

"The name of the game, is games." - Reggie Fils Amie

Are these modernized games new games? With each leap forward in technology, games have been allowed to progress into new forms. First, we had 2D single colored pixelated sprites, followed by 2 color, 4 color paleted, 16 color... Until we reached the 3D domain. Here, we saw worlds transcend into not just left, right, up and down, but for the first time, we could go truly near and far. 3D has opened a whole new door of possibilities in gaming. With each new step, games were allowed to expand into new experiences. Still, as fast as technology could advance, we could only advance so fast. Controllers needed to become more complex in order to accommodate a 3D environment. Some humans, could not keep up...

And there we have sat, in the dark ages, for nearly 10 years. We have sat adrift, going nowhere, stuck within the tide of the Red Ocean. A whirlpool of building intensity that promises to bring us more immersion with longer, broader and more graphically appealing games. Only today's Gamer can muster the ability to play the whirlpooling confusion that is modernized games. Those who cannot play, drown.

Luckily, the Red Ocean is not the only ocean one can swim in anymore. The Blue Ocean focusues on including everyone, not just the core, in promises to bring new experiences, and to make games new again. Whether it be the DS and its touchscreen, or the Wii and its controller, these systems are your ticket to smooth sailing on the Blue Ocean.

Gaining back these old gamers, and the ones who have never played, Nintendo is opening doors for itself. Rather than competing, Nintendo has done exactally what the Blue Ocean states: Make the Competition Irrelevant.

What does Nintendo have in store for the core? Stay tuned for Part 2.

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